Ocon hopes plan to rotate venues will save French Grand Prix

2023 F1 calendar

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Formula 1’s two French drivers fear their home race will lose its place on next year’s calendar.

However Esteban Ocon is hopeful the French Grand Prix might be saved by a plan under which some European circuits would pair up and share calendar slots. The French round could therefore continue to appear on the calendar every two years.

Next month’s race at Paul Ricard is the venue’s last in its current deal. Ocon says he’s “following the conversations” around whether F1 will return to the track in the future.

The situation “doesn’t look too nice,” Ocon admitted. “It is disappointing.

“I’ve been living in my young career where the grand prix was not there, then it came back, I’ve been very lucky and very fortunate to race there. We have it this year and we are going to enjoy it to the fullest, that’s clear.”

He said the possibility of calendar slots rotating between different venues could be “good news” for the French Grand Prix and other long-running European rounds.

“I think there are countries that we need to race in France is part of that. Belgium is part of that, Monaco is part of that. We should keep these races that are special to us.”

Fellow French driver Pierre Gasly said the potential absence of their home race from the 2023 F1 calendar was “a big concern” for him.

“I’m involved in the talks, I know what’s the current situation and obviously I’ll do anything which is in my hands and my power to support them,” he said.

“At the end of the day I’m not the one putting the money on the table. It’s always related to political and financial reasons.

“But I hope they can find an agreement because being French, I’m not the only one, Esteban is also in the paddock, Alpine is also in the paddock, I do feel French is clearly part of the sport and the history of the sport.

“It will be clearly sad not to have a home race in the next years but I’m quite confident they’re going to find an agreement.”

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19 comments on “Ocon hopes plan to rotate venues will save French Grand Prix”

  1. I mean, I get that French drivers would like a French GP, so good on them.

    But the sooner we leave this track behind, the better, I’d say. Rotating tracks is fine and all, but if we’re gonna lose Spa every other year to race at Paul Richard, I don’t think anyone anywhere will consider that a win.

    1. A win – probably not.
      But not a complete loss, either.

    2. I know I will be hated for this comment but I don’t understand the great love for Spa. It is a beautiful venue and driving there should be amazing but the races there are usually boring. I prefer it to many other racetracks out there but if there’s a good replacement, I wouldn’t be too attached to it either (and I am not mentioning how safety is increasingly being an issue …).

      1. @Ankita – Simply put, Spa is ‘boring’ because current motor sport era is supposed to be boring. All action must be artificial, sprints to get people hooked on virtually nothing and stuff.

        The thing with Spa-love is the track is a form of quintessence for racing. This is something only cars and drivers fully experience and, ultimately, it is what should be prioritized before considering any of the rest.

  2. some racing fan
    8th June 2022, 9:44

    If there is a French GP next year, then they should move it and Baku to September after Monza, and have the Singapore and Japanese GP’s to April.

    1. USA (Miami) (28 February)
    2. Bahrain (12 March)
    3. Saudi (19 March)
    4. Australia (2 April)
    5. Singapore (9 April)
    6. China (23 April)
    7. Japan (30 April)
    8. Imola (14 May)
    9. Spain (21 May)
    10. Monaco (4 June)
    11. Canada (18 June)
    12. Austria (2 July)
    13. Holland (9 July)
    14. Britain (23 July)
    15. Hungary (30 July)
    16. Belgium (28 August)
    17. Italy (4 September)
    18. Azerbaijan (18 September)
    19. France (25 September)
    20. Brazil (9 October)
    21. USA (Austin) (23 October)
    22. Mexico (30 October)
    23. USA (Vegas) (6 November)
    24. Qatar (20 November)
    25. Abu Dhabi (27 November)

    (My God, that’s a lot of races…)

    1. @some racing fan I assume you realize the unrealism in this scheduling, but I mention some:
      Singapore & Japan are unlikely to shift into the early-season phase, especially the former, as the track is temporary, which would possibly mean logistical issues on dismantling & build-up process timings.
      Azerbaijan & French GPs couldn’t occur on consecutive weekends, as one is a freight event & other a truck one, a logistically undoable equation.
      Only events with a like-for-like (two or three freight or truck ones) transportation format can form a double or triple-header.
      Finally, 24 is the upper limit for event amount per season.


      I think your geography is skewed. Every map I’ve ever seen puts Canada at the upper end of the North American continent.

      So, shuffle your race 1 and 11 into your “AMERICAS AUTUMN TOUR:” and it starts getting a little more sensible.
      Bahrain and Saudi need to be grouped with Qatar and Abu Dhabi too, if the group ended up isolated off the calendar I suspect I wouldn’t be alone in not shedding a tear.

      1. some racing fan
        9th June 2022, 23:01

        No, it really doesn’t. Miami in June is an AWFUL idea. If you thought the track problems in Miami this year were bad, they would be twice as bad in June, plus The only way to realistically pair Canada with the other Americas rounds is to have it in September or early October at the very earliest. And I agree 100 percent with you about the Middle Eastern races. And some of those dates were wrong anyway.

        @Jere- how then does F1 do Azerbaijan and Canada in 7 days? Please. Explain that to me.


        1. USA (Miami) (26 February)
        2. Bahrain (12 March)
        3. Qatar (19 March)
        4. Saudi (26 March)
        5. Australia (9 April)
        6. Singapore (16 April)
        7. China (30 April)
        8. Japan (7 May)
        9. Monaco (21 May)
        10. Spain (28 May)
        11. Imola (11 June)
        12. France (18 June)
        13. Austria (2 July)
        14. Holland (9 July)
        15. Britain (23 July)
        16. Hungary (30 July)
        16. Belgium (27 August)
        17. Italy (3 September)
        18. Azerbaijan (17 September)
        19. Canada (1 October)
        20. Brazil (15 October)
        21. USA (Austin) (29 October)
        22. Mexico (5 November)
        23. USA (Vegas) (12 November)
        25. Abu Dhabi (26 November)

        1. some racing fan
          9th June 2022, 23:01

          *plus the 75 percent chance of an afternoon deluge.

  3. Like Monaco isn’t enough of a French GP. Kind of forget that Monaco has always been around.

  4. It’s an often voiced argument but I don’t feel that European or other long-standing venues should have to rotate on the calendar so that F1 can include races in places like Saudi or Qatar. Or a third race in the U.S. That will be four races in the middle east. Liberty are all about chasing the money though and making a big impact in the U.S. so I cannot see this changing in the short term.

    The reality is Europe is going to have to lose at least one race, possibly two or have them rotate. The obvious candidates to me are Paul Ricard, Imola and Spain, although I think Spain has agreed a new contract. Paul Ricard and Spain because they don’t tend to be very entertaining and Imola because it’s a second race in the same country. We all have our preferences though.

    I would not like to see long-standing races like Monaco, Canada, Silverstone, Spa and Monza disappear from the calendar but unfortunately a compromise does have to be reached. So rotating venues is better I guess, if those under threat can make a financial go of it. If Liberty expect races to rotate then they should offer more financial support (or expect less) to enable these races to survive.

    1. My own view is that 23 races is too many anyway but moving to a figure lower than this would mean losing even more venues. Almost certainly in Europe.

    2. @phil-f1-21
      Both Imola & Spain are already committed, so only permanent tracks with expiring commitments.

  5. I’m not a big fan of the idea of rotating races in part because I don’t like the prospect of some of the best circuits only been part of the calender every other year.

    It also doesn’t help that I feel that 90% of the more modern circuits that are been brought in to replace or rotate with them are not especially good.

  6. I doubt this, partly because rotation is less economically viable than annual hosting.
    The likelihood of Circuit Paul Ricard getting axed is high & while the track is decently enjoyable, I wouldn’t be overly unhappy about losing it if/when this happens after this season.
    The remote location is an issue & Paul Ricard doesn’t have the historical connection a la Spa (also remote location), Monaco, Silverstone, Monza, Suzuka, etc., so pretty inevitable outcome.
    However, losing Spa would be a shame, but not the world’s end either. Even less so Monaco in the long-term.
    BTW, how could Gasly realistically be involved in talks between FOM & event organizers as a driver/team member?
    Unless he meant something else.

    1. When we’re talking about the historical aspect, I think it depends if we’re talking about the circuit or the event.
      In terms of the event, it’s literally impossible for any other F1 race to have stronger historical connections than the French Grand Prix. It was the first Grand Prix in the history of motor sport, first held in 1906, and it’s the very reason we use the expression “Grand Prix” for all of our other F1 races (and more races besides). We should cherish that history and recognise the importance of maintaining a French GP on the calendar. If Paul Ricard isn’t the right venue for that French GP then the French motor sport authorities, F1 and the FIA should strive to find another one.
      Incidentally, even Paul Ricard has more history than is often realised. It first held a world championship GP in 1971, over half a century ago. Suzuka didn’t hold one until 1987.

  7. I am not opposed to rotating venues if it makes sense.
    i think the venues that need to be rotated are:
    Miami/Vegas -three races here in the USA is too much and to Liberty, it’s all about the money.
    France/Imola -both are boring tracks and Imola should only stay IF they bring back the Tamburello curve.
    Any two of the middle east races -again, all about the money.

  8. Neil (@neilosjames)
    8th June 2022, 21:19

    I could live with Barcelona, Imola or Monaco rotating on and off with Paul Ricard.

    The likes of Spa, Silverstone, not so much.

  9. God i miss Magny-Cours, great track but true was sat in the middle of complete nowhere :)

Comments are closed.